On August 21, 2012, Republicans lost the 2012 election.
And not just the presidential election against incumbent Barack Obama. A number of their candidates vying for Senate positions have lost, and the GOP now has no chance at controlling the Senate.
The House remains unchanged, with the GOP controlling the majority. Still, in the House, Republicans have lost their clout, and are facing angry voters who will likely kick them from power come 2014.
The race had been a close one up until August 21 — with Obama leading the Republican ticket 47 percentage points to 46 for rival Mitt Romney. This poll was released just hours after August 21, and likely didn’t account for the happenings on that day. Subsequent monthly polls will see a higher lead margin for Obama.
The moment Republicans lost on August 21 came at exactly 6:01 p.m.
That was when it became clear that Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin would not be withdrawing from his position as the Republican nominee facing off against Clair McCaskill for the state’s Senate seat.
If you haven’t heard, on Sunday, the Tea Party-backed Akin (he isn’t 100% Tea Party, and wasn’t the “Tea Party candidate” in the GOP primary, but has been backed by the likes of Michele Bachmann, and has been dubbed a Tea Party member), made a completely over-the-top claim, stating that pregnancy is rare from "legitimate rape" because the woman's body has ways to "shut the whole thing down." Not surprisingly those remarks went viral on Twitter, then in the media, and Akin has since released a statement saying that he "misspoke."
The highest echelons of Republican leadership blasted Akin for his views, calling for him to step aside in the race. He will not withdraw, though, saying he won't be bullied out by "party bosses."
The deadline Akin missed was critical. It was the moment where he could completely walk away from the Missouri Senate race, and save the GOP face. He still can withdraw, but needs a court order to get his name off the ballot if he decides to drop out by Sept. 25. Realizing that Akin was about to undue everything for Republicans, newly minted vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan even called the Missouri congressman to talk him off the ledge, so to speak, and get him to walk away from his race before he caused epic chaos for the GOP.
But Akin jumped. And took the whole GOP with him.
So why is this so important for Republicans?
Akin is now a complete liability for the party, a laughing stock whose campaign can't possibly withstand the amount of media and political scrutiny it is enduring.
I mean, memes are being circulated ripping him. And we all know the power of memes.
Akin's comments come as the GOP is seeking to make waves in a huge general election come November, in which not only the presidency, but also control of the House and Senate are up for grabs.
With Akin remaining in the race, he will become the target of even more political and media attacks, and could inadvertently become the face of the GOP in election 2012 (and that's not a good thing). As a result, the entire Republican Party — every single GOP candidate up for election — will become collateral damage because of Akin’s statements.
The GOP was desperately looking for Akin to fall on his sword because Akin will be responsible for introducing a topic of discussion that historically pushes independents into the “D” column and could sway the balance of power against Republicans.
A massively vile quote on rape, the female body, and abortion will become the turning point of election 2012. Democrats in elections across the country will twist the knife on this issue, forcing their Republican opponents to answer for Akin’s remarks, no matter what their stance on the issue is.
A 2008 poll showed that a far-right abortion stance for then-GOP presidential candidate John McCain would push independents and pro-choice Republicans to Obama. The Akin incident, though, will prove to have greater residual effect. McCain consistently opposed abortion, except in cases of rape and incest or when a woman's life is at risk. Akin opposes abortion period. There is no qualifier and his extreme views will prove to be scary for many average voters.
Akin will become the face of the Tea Party, which is in the eyes of many average voters social movement, and less of fiscally conservative movement.
More so, Akin will define Republicans on social issues, especially as they move to make strict anti-abortion guidelines part of their party platform — their literal heart and soul — ahead of the Republican National Convention next week.
The trickle-down effect of the Akin-RNC abortion platform combo will be a plague among Republicans.
According to Gallup polls, 77% of all Americans believe abortion should be legal or legal is some cases (i.e. rape), compared to 20% of Americans who think is should be totally illegal.
Todd Akin, and Republicans as a whole, have now alienated that 77%.
But it’s not even an issue about pro-life or pro-choice. This is purely about ignorant statements about the female body, about rape, and about basic freedoms. Abortion has always been an issue which politicians had to toe the line on, no matter if they were pro-choice or pro-life. There would always be some middle ground most people could agree on, especially the extreme cases like rape.
No the middle ground has evaporated and the GOP has taken on the extreme viewpoints.
The GOP has become Todd Akin.